Ban lauds peaceful vote in Sierra Leone

Nov. 19, 2012 at 9:48 AM

UNITED NATIONS, Nov. 19 (UPI) -- High voter turnout and a general sense of calm during weekend elections in Sierra Leone are signs of the country's desire for peace, the U.N. chief said.

Voters in Sierra Leone cast their ballots in presidential, parliamentary, local council and mayoral elections Saturday. The country is recovering from a 10-year civil war that ended in 2002.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in a statement issued through his spokesman's office, said the vote was peaceful.

"The high voter turnout and the remarkable calm displayed by the country's citizens as they cast their votes are a clear manifestation of their desire for peace, democracy and development," he added.

Members of the Organization of the Islamic Council took part in monitoring the elections and described them as "disciplined."

Saturday's elections were the country's third since civil war ended and the second since peacekeepers from the U.N. Mission in Sierra Leone left the country in 2005.

At least 50,000 people were killed during the country's civil war. Former Liberian President Charles Taylor was sentenced by a U.N. special court in May to 50 years in prison for aiding and abetting crimes against humanity committed by rebel forces in the country during the conflict.

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